A contemporary conceptual model of hypochondriasis

Jonathan S. Abramowitz, Stefanie A. Schwartz, Stephen P. Whiteside

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

80 Scopus citations


Hypochondriasis (HC), which involves preoccupation with the fear of having a serious illness despite appropriate medical examination, is often encountered in medical settings. The most conspicuous feature of this disorder is seeking excessive reassurance from physicians, medical references, or self-inspection; however, many patients also fear they will receive upsetting information if evaluated and thus avoid consultations and remain preoccupied with physiologic events, believing they are physically ill. Thus, HC causes personal suffering for the patient and practical and cost management problems for professionals across fields of clinical practice. The past 2 decades have seen considerable improvement in the understanding and treatment of HC. In this article, we review a contemporary conceptual model of HC and an effective form of treatment called cognitive-behavioral therapy that is derived from this model. Recommendations for presenting this conceptualization to patients and encouraging proper treatment are also discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1323-1330
Number of pages8
JournalMayo Clinic proceedings
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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